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December 2011 Archives

PRIVATE WAYS: WHO HAS THE DUTY TO MAINTAIN AND REPAIR?

For landowners abutting a private way, obligations regarding maintenance and repair of the way depend on who owns the fee in the private way. These obligations include things like snow removal, re-paving, proper drainage and other maintenance issues.

EASEMENTS & PROPERTY TAXES: AGREE NOW OR ELSE PAY LATER

Any landowner contemplating the grant of a new easement over his property should consider whether he wants the grantee to assume a portion of the property taxes. By statute, property taxes are usually assessed to the landowner. Therefore, unless there is an agreement with the easement holder (dominant estate) stating otherwise, the obligation to pay property taxes-including for the easement portion of the property-will continue to lie with the landowner even after the grant and recording of the easement.

When Trees Are Unlawfully Cut or Removed From Property: Monetary Damages Under M.G.L. c. 242, § 7

A landowner who discovers that one or more trees have been unlawfully cut or cleared from his property is entitled to recover monetary damages as compensation for the loss. And, in many instances, the landowner may be entitled to treble (triple) damages resulting from the unauthorized cutting.

Expanding, Altering and Re-Constructing Pre-Existing Nonconforming One- and Two-Family Residences

Considering the age of many single and two-family homes within the Commonwealth, and the relative time period when zoning ordinances and by-laws came into effect across municipalities, it is common to find that many homes often do not comply with current local zoning requirements.